Best Tips and Practices to Extend Your Cookware’s Usage
Cookware can be expensive so you would want to give your pots and pans the best possible care while using them.
In this guide, we will dive into different techniques on how to properly maintain various cookware. We will share the best ways to clean your pots and how to use these kitchen items so they will last if possible.
What Is the Best Material For Cookware?
Cookware is made of all sorts of materials, the different materials have their own set of pros and cons. Below is a list of the most durable cookware types and their main characteristics.
Anodized cookware is made with aluminum and has an anodized lining. This type of cookware is affordable, light, and durable as they have a non-stick surface which makes them easy to clean.
The only downside to this material is that you need to be careful not to scratch the anodized surface off, otherwise your cookware would be very hard to clean.
Induction cookware is cookware that is made with a non-ferrous metal base such as stainless steel. This type of cookware can be used on an induction stove, which generates heat through a magnetic field instead of using electricity.
Induction cookware can be used on all sorts of stovetops. There are a few types of induction cookware with a non-stick surface.
Stainless Steel Cookware
Stainless steel cookware is made entirely of stainless-steel materials. This type of cookware is stain-resistant, scratch-resistant, incredibly durable, and warms and cools quickly.
The only downside to stainless cookware is that they can be hard to clean since they do not have a non-stick surface.
Copper cookware is a rare find. This type of cookware is beautiful but isn’t common in cookware because copper reacts with food. You would need an inner lining for this type of cookware for cooking.
Copper needs to be polished so it can keep gleaming. These pans can easily dent, is very expensive, and isn’t dishwasher safe.
Cast Iron Cookware
Cast iron cookware is made of cast iron. This cookware is highly durable and can be used in any type of stove or the oven. The only downside is that cast iron needs to be seasoned before each use. This type of cookware is hard to clean and can be very heavy to move around.
Cookware can have all sorts of coatings such as anodized coatings, enamel coatings, non-stick coatings, stoneware coatings, and more.
The bonus of these coatings is that the cookware remains lightweight and receives non-stick properties that allow you to easily clean the cookware. The downside to this type is that it can be damaged if the surface is scratched.
Waterless cookware is cookware that is designed to cook food without adding excess water to your pots. When using this cookware, food is cooked with its natural fats and water content. In some cases, you may need to add water, but it does not require much water.
This type of cookware works by converting the moisture from food into steam. As the temperature rises, the liquids from the food inside the pot vaporize. It is important to not open the lid during cooking, otherwise the vapors will escape, and your food will become dry.
Waterless cookware usually consists of several layers of material, enabling you to cook different foods at the same time.
This type of cookware is popular because it can save a lot of time, money, and energy on cooking while producing healthier foods since no oil is required for cooking.
How to Use Non-Induction Cookware on an Induction Cooktop
Many people who don’t have induction cookware may move into a home to find an induction cooktop.
Don’t go and buy induction cookware just yet! Your cookware might be compatible with the induction cooktop.
If you have a set of non-ferrous pots and pans such as stainless steel or cast iron, then you should be perfectly fine. Just turn on the cookware hob, place your cookware on the hob ring, and turn on the right ring. Any non-ferrous metal pot will create a magnetic field, which will cause your pots and pans to warm up.
After that, you can adjust the temperature of your pots and pans by pressing the + or – button. Remember to switch off the hob when you are finished because it will still be on even though it might be cool to the touch.
If your pots and pans do not work, then it is not the right metal and you will need to invest in a converter disk.
To use your non-induction cookware, you must begin by placing the converter disk on the cooktop. A converter disk is a plate that is made of iron or steel that is placed between the pot and the stovetop. These plates are usually extremely thin yet heavy.
The plate will warm-up via a magnetic field, and you can then place any type of cookware on the plate. You can now continue cooking as normal using your non-induction cookware.
How to Pack Pots and Pans
Your pots and pans are made of tough materials, but there is a possibility that it can be damaged when you are moving to a new home or traveling to a different location during holiday time. To prevent damage to your cookware, you need to pack them correctly.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to properly pack your cookware:
You should first clean and dry your pots and pans. Dirt and moisture can affect your packaging materials which could result in damage to your cookware.
You need to find packaging materials.
Ideally, you should get boxes that fit the size of your pots and pans. You also need some bubble wrap, sheets, towels, or newspapers to separate your cookware from one other to prevent scratching. You also need some duct tape to secure the items and ensure it will not move around.
Grab your pots and pans and wrap each item in separating materials.
Try to place smaller pots inside larger ones with a layer of materials such as towels, sheets, or newspaper in between to keep these items from rubbing together. You can also wrap the lids in bubble wrap or towels.
You need to put your pots and pans inside boxes. It is best to match your cookware with the size of the box so there is no room for these items to move around in.
If the boxes are too big, try to add stuff to the empty space with bubble wrap or newspaper to reduce the movement of the pots and pans within the box.
Now you need to duct tape everything shut so your cookware will be nice and snug for the trip.
With this method, there is no chance your cookware will be damaged while the goods are transporting.
How to Clean Your Cookware
It is extremely important to clean your cookware the right way. Some cookware items can become completely ruined if you use the wrong cleaning methods. Here is a quick look at the right way to clean different types of cookware:
Ceramic cookware is pretty tough but even this type of cookware can get damaged if you are not careful. Here are a few important tips to keep in mind when cleaning ceramic cookware:
- You should make sure your pots and pans are cooled entirely before you wash them. Exposing your pots and pans to sudden heat or cold temperatures can cause them to crack.
- Wash your ceramic cookware in warm soapy water. You can use a sponge to wipe away any food particles.
- The pans and pots should be washed inside and outside. Pay close attention to the handle areas since food tends to collect in these areas.
- After washing, you should rinse your ceramic cookware in water and dry it off before putting it away.
Most ceramic cookware items are dishwasher safe, but you should still read the instructions of each item to ensure that your set can handle extreme temperature and dishwater detergent.
Stainless Steel Cookware
Stainless steel cookware is extremely popular because this type of cookware is stain- and scratch-resistant. It is not always easy to clean because they don’t have a non-stick surface. Stainless steel can be exposed to lots of scrubbing without causing damage to your cookware.
Here is a quick look at some of the best ways to wash stainless steel cookware:
- If your pots or pans have a lot of burnt food, it is best to soak the pot before you wash it. Add warm water and dish soap to allow your pot to submerge in this concoction overnight.
- For extremely resilient foods such as burnt foods or eggs, you can also add water and dish soap to the cookware and place it back on the stove. Turn on the heat and simmer for 15 minutes with lots of water before removing the soapy water. The food will be much softer and easier to remove.
- You can wash your stainless-steel cookware in warm water with soap. It is perfectly fine to scrub your pots with steel wool to remove stubborn dirt.
- Stainless steel cookware is dishwasher safe so you can easily add them to the dishwasher if you have the extra room.
- Once all dirt is removed from the cookware, you should rinse the cookware and dry it off or allow it to air-dry before putting all the pots and pans away.
Non-stick cookware can be glorious to cook in, but this type of cookware should be handled delicately, or you could damage the surface. Don’t use steel utensils when cooking with these pots and pan. You should follow the following cleaning instructions:
- Non-stick cookware is generally not dishwasher safe. Unless the manufacturer instruction manual specifies that the cookware is safe to use in a dishwasher, you should never put it into your dishwasher. The extreme temperature and harsh cleaning agents of these machines can damage your cookware.
- To wash non-stick cookware, you can simply clean your pots and pans using warm water and mild dish soap. You should only wipe your pots and pans with a sponge or soft cloth.
- Avoid any harsh scrubbing products such as steel wool since these can damage your non-stick surface.
- Avoid adding other steel items such as cutlery into your cookware during cleaning since steel objects can also damage the surface.
- Once it is clean, you can rinse the pots and pans, dry it off, and put it away.
Cast Iron Cookware
Cast iron cookware needs to be seasoned before you can use it. During seasoning, several layers of oil are used to seal the surface of these pots and pans.
It is important to not remove or scrub away the seasoning to prevent rusting. Cast iron cookware is not dishwasher safe. Here are a few of the best ways to clean these pots and pans:
- To remove stubborn food that clings to your pans, you can soak the pan overnight with a paste consisting of coarse kosher salt and water. You can also boil water in the pan to remove stubborn food.
- Once the foods have softened, you can wash the pan in mild soapy water using a soft cloth. Be careful not to scrub too much or you will need to season your pan again.
Once it is clean, you can rinse the pan in water, dry it off, and put it away.
Copper cookware is not dishwasher safe. You need to hand wash these pots and pans using dish soap, warm water, and a soft sponge. To clean copper pots, you can follow the following instructions:
- For stubborn clingy food, you can soak your pots and pans overnight in a salt and water mixture or mild soap mixture. Boiling water in your cookware can also help soften and loosen these deposits.
- Add warm water and a small amount of dish soap to your sink. Use a soft sponge and a bit of elbow grease to scrub your pots and pans.
- Avoid dropping your pots or using hard utensils for cleaning. Copper is a bit soft and can dent easily.
- Once it is clean, you can rinse your copper cookware, dry these items off, and put them away.
If your copper cookware becomes green, it means a layer of carbon oxide has formed on the surface of the copper. This layer can be removed using the following steps:
- Mix salt and vinegar into a paste and apply it over the copper surface.
- Allow the mixture to sit for a while.
- Use a soft cloth to wipe off the mixture.
- Keep polishing the surface until your copper cookware is gleaming again.
Glass pots and pans are usually dishwasher safe and fairly easy to clean since the surface is very smooth. It is important to not drop glass cookware because it can shatter.
Glass cookware can also shatter if you expose the material to extreme heat and cold temperatures. Here is a brief guide on the best way to clean glass cookware:
- You can add your glass cookware to your dishwasher for easy cleaning.
- You can also soak your glass cookware overnight by submerging it in warm water and dish soap to soften any food particles.
- Once the foods have softened, you can wash your glass cookware in hot water and dish soap. You can scrub these pots and pans but make sure you don’t scrub too much. Certain tools like steel wool can cause scratches on the surface, which can make glass cookware look unappealing.
- Once it is cleaned, you can simply rinse the cookware, dry it off, and put it away.
How To Make Stainless Steel Pan Non-Stick
Stainless steel pans are some of the best pieces of cookware to own because it is tough and durable. Your stainless-steel pans will never discolor and will last a lifetime. The only downside is that these pans can be challenging to cook in because food tends to cling to the surface of the metal.
To make your stainless cookware non-stick, you can try the following steps:
- Heat your pan over medium or medium-high heat for 2 minutes.
- Add enough vegetable oil to the pan to cover the entire base up to about 1/8 inches.
- Keep heating the oil until you notice wisps of smoke appear. This usually takes about 6 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and wait for the pan and oil to cool entirely.
- Once cooled, you can pour the oil out and wipe the surface with a paper towel. Don’t wash the pan at this point as the thin layer of oil left behind is your non-stick surface.
- Proceed with cooking your favorite foods. You will notice that food won’t cling to your surface as much.
What Pans Do Chefs Use?
Professional chefs prefer to use cast iron, copper, and carbon steel pans. The ideal pan for chefs who work in restaurants is the carbon steel pan. These pans are incredibly light and have a smooth surface.
These pans cannot be washed in the dishwasher and need to be washed using mild dish soap and a soft sponge to avoid damaging the surface.
Another favorite piece of cookware for chefs is the cast-iron skillet. When these pans are well seasoned, they form a non-stick surface that is ideal for preparing lots of roasted foods.
Chefs usually have quite a few different types of pans in their collection. Here is a quick look at the essential pans professional cooks love to use:
The Sauté Pan
Sauté pans are ideal for moving the food around in the pan so ingredients can evenly mix. These pans require very little oil for cooking and the pans usually feature a deeper and thicker design compared to frying pans. Sauté pans have straight edges and can be used for frying steaks or deep-frying foods.
These pans usually have a rounded bottom with tall sides. These are ideal for warming up food or for making all sorts of veggie pots. Saucepans usually come with a lid to keep food from evaporating.
These pans usually have a flat bottom and come with a lid that locks in moisture. These pans are ideal for slow cooking food on a stovetop. Many brazier pans are designed to be aesthetically pleasing so food can be served straight from the pan to plate.
Griddle pans are square shaped with raised edges. They can be used for various types of foods such as eggs, pancakes, hotdogs, or patties. Griddle pans usually have non-stick surfaces.
Woks are large pans with a rounded bottom and no sharp edges. The edges can be very high, but the pan is smooth until the edge. These pans are excellent for frying all sorts of dishes such as stir fry, veggies, and noodles. These pans are ideal for preventing your food from becoming soggy.
Pressure cookers usually have a deep bottom and an airtight lid. These pans are designed to trap moisture and to raise the pressure inside the food. These pans are ideal for reducing your cooking time by up to 50%. The pressure cooker is ideal for cooking all sorts of foods such as soups with shredded meats.
When you know what the proper care treatment is for different types of cookware, it becomes easier to choose the right cookware for your kitchen. You also get much more functionality from your cookware because the right care techniques ensure that your expensive cookware stays in great shape for longer.